Prime Minister Boris Johnson outlined the “roadmap” out of lockdown for England on Monday (22 February 2021), with an idea of when pubs, cinemas, sporting events and non essential shops would be opened. However many are concerned at the opening of schools as early as the 8th of March. Johnson put forward his 4 step plan for England to the House of Commons, with the first step being schools opening early next month.
The Tories’ flagship ‘Kickstart’ scheme isn’t a subject that has received a great deal of coverage either in the monopoly media or in the labour movement since it was launched as part of the Summer Budget in 2020. This lack of coverage and awareness might be surprising given that it is being touted as the Tories silver bullet to spiralling youth unemployment resulting from the pandemic. In fact, it is really their only significant policy in terms of youth unemployment. But there is a good reason you probably haven’t heard much about it since the scheme was launched. Despite all the government spin, it has been a complete failure.
A Supreme Court ruling today has unanimously voted to ensure Uber must classify its drivers as workers rather than self-employed. The decision marks the end of a long-standing legal challenge and will mean tens of thousands of Uber drivers will be entitled to minimum wage and holiday pay. The final details of compensation remain unclear, however, this ruling represents a massive win for workers in the gig economy, many of whom have been hit hard throughout the ongoing pandemic.
Wetherspoon’s chairman Tim Martin today threatened the government with job losses if pubs are not opened as soon as possible, in a move which is a surprise to no one that has been paying attention. Conservative donor Martin, who has made £50m from his shares in the company despite its first pre-tax loss since 1984, has expressed concern that the “great contribution” that his company has made to the tax kitty has been forgotten in order to save human lives from Covid-19.
Nick Wright argues that despite the disappointing end to the Corbyn era in 2019, the labour movement is not in a weaker place in terms of militancy, membership and motivation — and this can be translated into electoral success once again.
The Communist Party has issued the January edition of its news sheet Unity! focusing on the COVID-19 pandemic, the Rolls Royce workers win, Brexit, student occupations, the upcoming CP trade union aggregate and plans for the YCL centenary.
To kick start activities in 2021, the Communist Party is holding an aggregate of members who are also active or intending to become active trade unionists. The event is open to members of the Communist Party and the Young Communist League. The Party’s Industrial Organiser Andy Bain is calling for a big turnout by CP trade unionists early in the year, to plan campaigns and struggle, as a real boost to the labour and anti austerity movements.
Trade unions have painted a bleak picture for miners in Pakistan, where astonishingly 14 miners have already lost their lives this year as a consequence of accidents and jihadist massacres.
Last night, after nearly six months off, the so-called ‘Clap for Carers’ returned. A mainstay of the Thursday nights during the original lockdown back in Spring 2020, its return is as tragic as it is insulting. The original ‘Clap for Carers’ lasted 10 weeks and millions of people took part across the country.
Maryam Pashali interviews Pete, a BFAWU union member and kitchen staff worker for J.D. Wetherspoon, detailing the recent Spoon Strike and ways in which workers can organise within their workplaces.